Commanding in its scope, revelatory and unsparing in argument, Republic of Caste amounts to a new map of post-Independence India. Anand Teltumbde identifies the watershed moments of its journey: from the adoption of a flawed Constitution to the Green Revolution, the OBC upsurge, the rise of regional parties, and up to the nexus of neoliberalism and hindutva in the present day. Joining the dots between a wide range of events on the ground and the prevailing structure of power, he debunks the pieties of state and Constitution, political parties and identitarian rhetoric, to reveal the pernicious energies they have unleashed and their dire impact on India’s most marginalised people, the dalits.
The exclusion and disempowerment of dalits emerges as intrinsic to India’s republican system, whether expressed through state policies on education, agriculture and land ownership, or the tacit encouragement of caste embedded in both law and political practice. Here, the carrot of reservations comes with the stick of atrocities. As a politics of symbolism exploits the fissile nature of caste to devitalise India’s poorest whilst appropriating their votes, Teltumbde’s damning analysis also shows progressive politics a way out of the present impasse.
Anand Teltumbde is a leading public intellectual and civil rights activist. He writes a monthly column, 'Margin Speak', for Economic and Political Weekly and regularly contributes to Mainstream, Frontier, Seminar and many leading English and Marathi newspapers. Among his significant books are The Republic of Caste (2018), Dalits: Past, Present and Future (2016) Mahad: The Making of the First Dalit Revolt (2016) and The Persistence of Caste (2010). An engineer with a management qualification, Teltumbde has been the CEO of a holding company. He currently teaches in a business school of IIT, Kharagpur.
Republic Of Caste establishes Teltumbde as the cerebral annihilator of what he calls “the perfect design of the most exploitative and longest surviving man-made system in the world”. Ambedkar prescribed “dynamiting the dharmashastras” that he believed taught Hindus “the religion of caste”. In his writing and activism, Teltumbde has embraced the task.
Anand Teltumbde urges dalits to sit up and rethink the logic of representation that has been the pivot of their movement since Independence.
- Business Line
Ambedkar knew the importance of land in the emancipation of dalits, but he also knew it would not be easy to secure it for them, writes Anand Teltumbde in a new book titled ‘Republic of Caste: Thinking Equality in the Time of Neoliberal Hindutva’.
- from an excerpt in The Print